Switzerland’s position as a FinTech hub is growing however it lags significantly behind some of the major global hubs. Investment stands at around USD 187m. A drop in the ocean when you consider it being a USD 50bn industry.
In case this word or indeed 'world' has by passed you, FinTech has rapidly brought together the worlds of Finance and Technology. You might say that this is nothing new and you are right. However the level of innovation that has occurred, just in the past few years, has been phenomenal. It began with facilitating money transfers and Bitcoin (see below) then to comparison sites, management of equity portfolios, payments, data analytics, currency conversions and more.
An interesting debate is then, how do we maximise innovation in the FinTech world whilst leveraging bank infrastructure? We want to get rid of the middleman by using the middleman! Hence banks and other financial institutions are playing a catch up game.
UBS brought together Accenture, Bitcoin and Blockchain analysts as well as a host of FinTech startups to pitch their businesses in front of a crowd full of eager Techies and Finance enthusiasts. Each startup had four minutes to pitch their idea. And why were these businesses from Israel? Israel is at the forefront of Technology and Innovation with many incubators and a business climate that facilitates innovation and entrepreneurship. Such a small country has quickly risen to the forefront of the FinTech world.
In addition, the event covered alternative views on investment management, p2p, security and authorisation, privacy and avatars, identity and service meshes.
Bitcoin is also something that is now too big to ignore. The idea of virtual currency scares many people. However Bitcoin along with Blockchain is a massive disruption that aims to cut out the middleman to pay who we need to pay or receive money from securely and easily. A place where you know what is being paid for and how much but the identify of the payers and receivers are kept anonymous.
Overall FinTech is a driver of sustainable economic growth. FinTech creates superior financial products, improve efficiency and automation, address cyber security and upgrade the customer experience. If increasing regulation for banks and financial institutions is going to hamper growth in the short run, FinTech could be an area in which resources are directed towards and where gains could materialise much quicker.